Building Briefs – October 30th



Scott Connor, assistant site manager, (left) and David Lawrie, site manager
Scott Connor, assistant site manager, (left) and David Lawrie, site manager

McCarthy and Stone breaks new ground in Haddington

Retirement developer McCarthy and Stone has began work on its new development on Mill Wynd, in the East Lothian market town of Haddington

Led by site manager David Lawrie, the firm has introduced its first-ever timber frame apartment development which will allow their team on-site to deliver 43 two bedroom apartments and six terraced two bedroom homes within an impressive 51-week programme.

McCarthy and Stone local workforce has reached 20 and this will rise to between 100-120 as its programme progresses and the need for the various tradespeople increases.

The first apartments will be available to buy off-plan in December 2015, with the first occupations due in spring/summer 2016.

 

Plan to demolish former Perth hotel could be fast-tracked

An ambitious plan to bulldoze an eyesore Perth landmark could be fast-tracked.

Historic Environment Scotland said it would not stand in the way of the Waverley Hotel’s demolition.

Owner Ann Gloag’s proposal to demolish the former hostelry on York Place and build a multi-use hall and gym in its place is now back on track.

Historic Scotland – the previous incarnation of the heritage watchdog – previously pressed the case for retaining the existing buildings at the site, and stated its choice would be to find an alternative use for the hotel.

But it performed a u-turn, saying there is “no further requirement” to involve them in the consultation process.

A spokesperson for Ms Gloag, who has waged a six-year battle for permission to raze the building, said: “There is too much evidence in Perth of Historic Environment Scotland blocking progress and the city needs to be allowed to move forward.”

 

New £10m Highland school opens

A new £10 million school built by Graham Construction has officially opened in the Highlands.

The Lundavra Primary School has replaced Fort William and Upper Achintore Primaries to form an eleven class school.

Features of the development include a multi-purpose hall and a variety of other functions including early year’s education, out of school care, additional needs provision and community facilities.

 

Construction activity slows despite tenth straight quarter of growth

The Construction Product Association’s latest Construction Trade Survey, published today, shows that activity in construction rose for the tenth consecutive quarter in Q3.

This growth was reported by firms across all areas of the industry, from building contractors and SME builders to civil engineers and product manufacturers.

Key survey findings include:

  • 4 per cent of building contractors, on balance, reported that construction output rose in the third quarter of 2015 compared with a year ago.  In Q1 and Q2, these balances were 50 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively
  • On balance, 25 per cent of SME contractors reported increased workloads in Q3 compared to three months earlier
  • Public housing orders decreased in Q3 according to 42 per cent of building contractors, on balance
  • A balance of 12 per cent reported a fall in orders in private housing while commercial orders were lower for a balance of 20 per cent
  • 22 per cent of SMEs reported an increase in enquiries in Q3, on balance
  • 13 per cent of civil engineering firms reported an increase in new orders in Q3, on balance
  • 63 per cent of building contractors reported difficulties recruiting bricklayers, 41 per cent for carpenters and 28 per cent for plasterers in Q3
  • 75 per cent of contractors reported labour costs rose in Q3 compared with the previous quarter

 

New timelapse shows A90 bridge demolition work

Transport Scotland have released a video showing the full extent of the bridge demolition works that will require another closure of part of the A90 near the Forth Road Bridge this weekend.

The video shows the full scale of the operation as the first half of the bridge came down last weekend, covering the carriageway in debris. In addition to the demolition work 15 additional operations were carried out on the closed network and Forth Road Bridge as part of the closure.

Drivers are warned to avoid the Forth Road Bridge area this weekend to allow for the demolition of the old B800 bridge over the A90 to continue. From 8 PM on Saturday October 31 the A90 and M90 (M9 Spur) will be closed in both directions through to a latest re-opening time of 6 AM on Monday November 2, 2015.

 

New unsecured loan finance for Scottish housing associations

The Scottish Government has made £25 million available through a social investment charity to provide unsecured medium-term loans for housing associations.

Allia, which won the charitable bond programme delivery contract following a public procurement exercise, will provide loans exclusively for RSLs to bring forward projects to build new affordable homes until 31st March 2016

Loans are available for between 5 and 10 years with the rate fixed for the whole of the term. Interest will roll up and be payable only at the end of the loan. The loans will be unsecured, typically with no covenants for gearing or interest cover.

The loan fund also runs in parallel with a new grant programme, using the interest generated by the loans to provide charitable donations for social housing development in Scotland. Borrowers who have been approved by Allia can apply to Scottish Government for a grant in addition to a loan.

To find out more about the scheme contact Allia at scottish.homes@allia.org.uk or call 0845 456 2431.

 

Wheatley Group appoints Sheila Gunn as its first vice-chair

Housing, care and property-management organisation Wheatley Group has appointed its first vice-chair.

Sheila Gunn will take up the new non-executive role with the Group with immediate effect. Ms Gunn will be deputy to Alastair MacNish who was appointed Wheatley Group chairman in February this year.

A qualified solicitor, Ms Gunn has been a Wheatley board member since November 2012.